Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tall Tuesday: Vintage vs New Banana Republic

There was a time when the Banana Republic clothing stores had a mystique about them. If I could only where their clothing, I would instantly be on safari in Africa, shopping the bazaars of Morocco, digging for relics in South America or climbing the mountains of the Far East. It was instant exotic adventure. Tom Cruise's bomber jacket from "Top Gun" and Harrison Ford's vintage clothes from "Indiana Jones" help reinforce this dream in my teenage mind.

Alas it was not to be. Their clothes did not fit a lad of 6'7". T-shirts were too short. Shorts rode up and pants looked like capris. When I was fortunate enough to visit their store in Cleveland, complete with palms and an old army jeep, I could only come away with a khaki roll up hat, which I still wear for yard work today.

Years later Banana Republic offers tall clothes via their website only. I only discovered the fact this year and had a major buying spree thanks to a 40% off on-line coupon. I like some of their current styles. The wool slacks and sweaters are great.

But let's face it the mystique is gone. Shopping on-line has definite advantages, but it pales compared to flipping through their vintage catalogs that looked and read like travel journals. Every item was represented through a man-made illustration with watercolor and colored pencil. Interspersed were lovely spot art illustrations usually dealing with a them from the featured artist. Just check out these covers by H. Craig Hannah (the Expatriate Hall of Fame) and An Ching Chang (On the Road to Mandalay). Fantastic!

I'll try to post more scans from these later once I finish my Christmas card for the year. I also wanted to do a proper illustration for this post.

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